By Eli Hughes–

The University of Louisville will host a virtual graduation on May 9 as a way to recognize the achievements of graduates while still maintaining social distancing guidelines.

This virtual ceremony will not replace the in-person spring commencement, which is expected to take place along with winter commencement later this year.

“As you know, the coronavirus pandemic necessitated the postponement of our spring 2020 commencement ceremony,” U of L President Neeli Bendapudi said in an email sent to the U of L community on May 3. “Although we do plan to hold a formal ceremony in December for our spring graduates, we want to ensure that we also recognize them now.”

The online commencement ceremony will take place on a website U of L has set up for this event. Beginning at 10 a.m. on May 9, the site will become active with messages from the U of L community, alumni, and state and local leaders.

Those interested can participate by celebrating the graduates through social media. The hashtag #UofLGrads2020 should be used to share the graduates’ accomplishments, personal stories, pictures and words of encouragement.

Graduates are also encouraged to use the hashtag to reflect on their time at U of L and share how they are celebrating. Bendapudi hinted in the email that the posts shared using the hashtag would be involved in the event on the website.

According to the email, the website will also feature spotlights of graduates, interactive features and numerous surprises.

“Although we’ll be celebrating their accomplishments in a way that is far different than anyone could have anticipated, I am certain that what the Class of 2020 has endured during this unprecedented time will further fuel their potential to build a better world, here and beyond,” Bendapudi said.

Graphic by Joseph Garcia // The Louisville Cardinal